Wellington Zoo was offering a special deal of $5 entry each Wednesday during August. A pleasant way to spend the day, we thought, so we made a picnic lunch and drove into the city. Seems like most of Wellington had the same idea. Not only were parking spaces almost non existent, (we finally squeezed into a park right up the top of a steep hill), but the queue snaked out the zoo entrance doorway and away down by Newtown Park.
Several of the zoo staff had animals in their arms to show to those waiting in the line. The keeper holding Abel Tasman, the Norwegian rat, wanted us to pet him. No way – I hate rats and their horrible bare tails. “Take him away”, I said, “what are you doing terrorising old ladies with your rat?” The keeper wasn’t offended, there were plenty of little boys in the queue who were only too happy to pet her rat. Also on show was a blue tongued skink and a water dragon.
Just past the entrance were the kunekune pigs, now that is more my kind of animal, I can’t walk past a pig! The kunekune is a small New Zealand breed of domestic pig, their dumpy build is covered in coarse hair, and they can have wattles hanging from their lower jaw. The kunekune is believed to have descended from an Asian domestic breed introduced to New Zealand in the early 19th century by whalers or traders. The Maori name means “fat and round”.
The gibbon enclosure was next, and there was one getting ready to face his busy day, snoozing the morning away in a hammock. No doubt he had already eaten his breakfast and needed a bit of “chill out time” before he met up with the public.
The cute little squirrel monkeys were like quicksilver, running, jumping, climbing all over each other. Rather like a bunch of hyper-active kids.
Another bunch of cuties were the Emperor Tamarins. These are named after German Emperor Wilhelm 11, who sported a big moustache, just like the little tamarins.
The black and white ruffed lemurs are from Madagascar and we love to see them on TV walking with their rather grand tails held high. They like to sleep during the day and go out foraging at dusk. They looked rather like a big black and white pussy cat all curled up fast asleep on a nice warm rock, so we never got to see the lovely long tail.
Lunch time had rolled around so we found a spare place on the end of a crowded picnic table to sit and enjoy our lunch. Yum, home made bacon and egg pie, that was tasty. Once rested and revived, we set off up the hill to catch up with the larger animals. More about this tomorrow.